Press "Enter" to skip to content

Greenfield, Novstrup Not Delivering on Promises to Get Money for CSPs and Nursing Homes

I’ve heard a lot of talk from legislators at the Aberdeen crackerbarrels about the need to find funding to subsidize wages at nursing homes and community support providers. Yet for all their talk, they aren’t getting much done to raise real money for that noble (if socialistic) purpose.

The best  Rep. Lana Greenfield (R-2/Doland) has been able to come up with is to try co-opting savings from shifting Native Americans from Medicaid to Indian Health Services that the Governor originally wanted to fund Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Greenfield’s House Bill 1266 tries to direct the unknown Medicaid–IHS swap savings to community support providers and nursing facilities “for the purpose of enhancing the wages of direct care employees to a level commensurate with those of state employees in comparable job classifications.”

But at least Greenfield is trying. Senator Al Novstrup hasn’t followed up on his abortive push last year for a 39-million-dollar property tax hike. He didn’t write any bills of his own dealing with community support providers; he felt it was more important to focus on attacking the First Amendment, revising historical license plate rules, and mandating disclosure of motel and campground fees.

Novstrup is the Senate prime (and, as Al himself explained at our February 3 crackerbarrel, his priming a House bill is no proof that he supports, understands, or has even read the bill) on Rep. Wayne Steinhauer’s House Bill 1300, which only carves out 30% of those Medicaid–IHS savings to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for existing providers and does not target those dollars toward wage subsidies.

HB 1300 died alongside Greenfield’s HB 1266 in House Appropriations this morning, as appropriators deemed the measures too broad a brush and chose to keep a more accountable handle on such plans in the appropriations process and said we don’t know yet how many providers will participate in the Medicaid–IHS swap, how much money the swap will provide, or whether the feds will even maintain that swap.

Senator Novstrup also signed on as Senate sponsor to Speaker G. Mark Mickelson’s effort to pre-empt his own tobacco-tax initiative with HB 1274, which, after pouring $20 million into vo-tech tuition subsidies, would have given up to $10 million to CSPs and nursing facilities. That bill died last week in House State Affairs.

It’s nice to hear Senator Novstrup and Representative Greenfield stand up for local CSPs and nursing homes at our crackerbarrels. It would be much nicer to see them screw up the courage and the votes to raise real dollars to solve the problem about which they profess such sincere concern.


  1. mike from iowa 2018-02-14 10:32

    Does the state regulate nursing homes or are they self regulating?
    I wouldn’t trust South Dakota attempts at oversight when the welfare of elderly people is at odds with for profit outfits.

  2. Cathy B 2018-02-14 14:41

    It would help nursing homes if they didn’t have to pay sales tax on all their food – a big budget item. (Hospital food is not taxed, but nursing home food is.)
    The legislature should find a way this session to enact the food tax reduction plan in SB159, so that the food tax can be phased down, a whole percent at a time. Otherwise, we will be seeing one-tenth percent reductions in the general tax rate, after the Supreme Court decides SD can get a lot more revenue by taxing online sales. A little-known part of a 2016 law requires these tiny sales tax cuts. Shifting them to food tax cuts would be preferable.
    Tell your legislators. They may not realize this possibility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.